Friday, May 4, 2012

Upon Beating One's Self Into Submission

I am really hard on myself.

This is probably no surprise to most of the people who read this with any regularity, as I'm pretty certain most of you know me. Every now and then, I take it upon myself to really beat the crap out of me. If I was another human being, I would have a pretty good case for emotional abuse. I caught myself at the gym, staring into the ten different mirrors, viciously attacking every flaw I could find. Fortunately I caught myself, because 5 miles of self-abuse (and I'm not referencing running when I say abuse), can lead to an ugly mood.

On any given day, I can find at least 10 things I would shave off 5 years of my life in order to correct. My mental state (resiliency and reserve... we've talked about them), really makes the difference if I dwell on these 10 things, or if I decide to let myself off the hook for being imperfect. Some of these things really don't matter all that much: I have a zit in the middle of my forehead today. It will be gone in two days. What is the point of getting crabby at myself, and I rarely have perfectly clear skin.

There are a few things that almost always send me flying off into self-berating mode: my weight and my work. I've written about being gentle with myself, and practicing self-kindness, as well as general kindness; it was one of my first resolutions this year. The best part of practicing self-love and gentleness: it is a way more effective motivator for getting out of bed each day. Who wants to wake up to someone immediately bringing them down?

So I'm revisiting this resolution right now. My weight has been up and my work has been down (correlation, boredom eater?). I've been considerably more nit picky at myself, and I'm starting to get on my own nerves. Here is the kicker, we are what we think. If we constantly hear from ourselves we will never be good enough, guess what? We will never be good enough. I've always wondered why it is so easy to be mean to myself, and so hard to be nice. I think it is the same reason why it is hard to eat healthfully, and it is easy to eat ice cream. I am one of those people who can find the good in just about any one (carefully note the just about part). This week, I'm going to practice finding the good in me, and acknowledging it.

Step one: Find anything I like about myself first thing in the morning. Even if it is simply the shape of my thumbs (I have nice thumbs, what can I say?).
Step two: Look in the mirror and tell myself I love that thing. I love my thumbs!
Step three: walk away from the mirror. Remember periodically through out the day that I love my thumbs.

Sounds easy. I start first thing tomorrow.

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